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FBI investigating prosecutor's actions following arrest

Lawrence Co FBI.jpg
Posted at 12:01 PM, Sep 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-13 19:31:08-04

LAWRENCEBURG, Tenn. (WTVF) — The FBI is investigating whether two Lawrence County deputies used excessive force during an arrest last year and whether a prosecutor advised them to cover it up.

Lawrence County Deputies Zach Ferguson and Eric Caperton arrested 62-year-old Mike Jones last October.

They charged him with resisting arrest after he led them on a chase near the Lawrence and Giles County line.

Pictures of Jones in the hospital after his arrest show his bruised and swollen face.

His brother said he was hard to recognize.

"I didn't even recognize it was him when I saw him. His face was swollen. His eyes were shut," Jim Jones said of his brother.

A court filing first reported by NewsChannel 5 Investigates claims one of the arresting deputies took cell phone pictures of Jones after he was beaten.

The filing claims, "Deputy Furguson texted photographs of Mr. Jones' injuries to" Assistant District Attorney for the 22nd Judicial District Emily Crafton who was a prosecutor in District Attorney Brent Cooper's Office.

The court filing alleges Crafton advised deputy Ferguson to delete the pictures from his phone.

"The officers had some trophy photos and the DA was saying that's bad evidence against them and the DA was telling them to get rid of them," Jim Jones said.

District Attorney Brent Cooper confirms the FBI is now investigating allegations of excessive force and tampering with evidence.

Cooper fired Assistant District Attorney Emily Crafton days after he learned about the excessive force allegations.

She was fired for "unsatisfactory job performance."

Deputies Caperton and Ferguson were put on administrative leave with pay in early June.

Attorney Andrew Nutt now represents Mike Jones and questions whether Caperton and Ferguson are really off the job on leave.

A photo shows Deputy Caperton in court in late July.

Witnesses said he had his badge and gun.

It was the day a judge dropped the resisting arrest charges against Mike Jones.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, "How surprised were you to see him in court with his badge and gun?"

Nutt responded," Shocked. I think everybody in the courtroom was shocked."

Lawrence County Sheriff John Meyers said Deputy Caperton was in court because he was subpoenaed to testify.

He said the deputies were never made to turn in their badge and gun when they were put on administrative leave.

The Sheriff said Caperton and Ferguson are now back at work in a "limited capacity" and his office is "in limbo" waiting for the any ongoing investigation to end.

Attorney Andrew Nutt is concerned the deputies are back at work at all.

He hopes the FBI investigation is concluded soon and believes charges should be filed.

"They've been on leave since June. There's really no reason why it's taking this long," Attorney Andrew Nutt said.

Sheriff Myers said in an earlier statement he is standing by his officers and believes they used the appropriate amount of force necessary to make the arrest.

He said he did not know the FBI was investigating.

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Prosecutor tells deputies to delete photos showing man they had just beaten, according to court filing